AACN News—August 1999—Certification

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Vol. 16, No. 8, AUGUST 1999


Resources Help to Prepare for ‘Synergized’ Exam

Although critical care nurses have a large knowledge base in professional caring and ethical practice, even the most seasoned may feel intimidated by the idea of being tested on these areas.

However, with adoption of the Synergy Model as the basis for the framework for the CCRN� and CCNS� exams administered by AACN Certification Corporation, these knowledge areas have been incorporated. For example, as of July 1999, the content of the adult, pediatric and neonatal CCRN exam is focused 80% on clinical judgment, as in the past, and 20% on professional caring and ethical practice.

All hospitals and many outpatient facilities have guidelines established by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, which provide direction in dealing with issues such as cultural diversity and ethical concerns. CCRN candidates are encouraged to review their institution’s guidelines to gain insight into these standards.

Most up-to-date critical care nursing textbooks include chapters that address issues such as advocacy and moral agency; caring practices; collaboration; facilitator of learning; response to diversity; clinical inquiry; and systems thinking. Among these that are related to adult critical care are the third edition of Critical Care Nursing Diagnosis and Management (Thelan, L. A. et al, Mosby 1998) and the second edition of Critical Care Nursing (Clochesy, J.M. et al, Saunders 1996). For pediatric and neonatal candidates, Critical Care Nursing of Infants and Children (Curley, M. et al, Saunders 1996) and the fourth edition of Handbook of Neonatal Intensive Care (Kenner, C. et al, Mosby 1998) include this type of content.

The four-hour, computer-based CCRN exam consists of 200 multiple-choice items and can be scheduled year-round at more than 300 Sylvan Prometric locations.

To obtain an exam handbook and application or for more information about preparation resources, call (800) 899-2226, or visit the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at http://www.certcorp.org.

CCRN Liaisons Champion Certification

Promoting the value of CCRN� certification and serving as a resource to CCRN-certified nurses are the goals of more than 400 CCRNs, who volunteer to be CCRN liaisons within their institutions.

A group of these liaisons as well as CCRNs interested in joining the effort participated in a roundtable at the 1999 National Teaching Institute™ in May in New Orleans, La. The discussions were led by Patricia McGaffigan, RN, MS, who is currently chair-elect of the AACN Certification Corporation Board; Board Director Aimee Lyons, RN, MSN, CCRN, and Consumer Representatives Holly Smith-Jones, Joan O’Sullivan and Virginia Gensch Oleen.

Representing a spectrum of healthcare facilities, from rural facilities with four-bed ICUs to large metropolitan medical centers, the participants shared their thoughts and ideas on certification and the CCRN position. As a result, several additions to the CCRN liaison program are planned. In addition to providing a CCRN liaison link on the AACN Certification Corporation Web site (http://www.certcorp.org), a “CCRN Liaison Corner” column will be added to the semi-annual Certification Connections newsletter and periodic updates will be published on the “Certification Connection” page in AACN News.

CCRN liaisons will continue to receive quarterly mailings, which will include promotional materials as well as recommendations for preparing for the new Synergy Model-based CCRN examination. By providing education and reassurance, the liaison group will be important in easing the transition to this new exam blueprint, which was effective July 1999. Other ideas emerging from the roundtable at NTI to enhance the CCRN liaison program will also be pursued.

New Grant Focuses on Certification

Funding for a new grant to support research related to certified practice has been approved by the AACN Certification Corporation Board.

Four grants of up to $10,000 each will be awarded, beginning in 2000.

Examples of eligible projects would be studies that focus on continued competency, the Synergy Model, the value of certification as it relates to patient care or nursing practice, and credentialing concepts. The proposed research may be used to meet the requirements of an academic degree.

Although AACN members are encouraged to apply for this grant, AACN membership is not required. However, if all other factors are equal, AACN member applications will be given preference.

The deadline to submit proposals for the new AACN Certification Corporation Research Grant is Feb. 1, 2000.

To obtain a grant application, call (800) 899-2226, or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org. For more information, call the AACN Practice and Research Department at (800) 809-2273.